Kidnapping, forced conversion and rape of Christian women and girls is ‘human rights catastrophe’ – Catholic Charity Laments
A new report from Aid to the Church in Need has
revealed the shocking extent to which atrocities are
being committed against Christian women and girls.
The Catholic charity said that the scale and severity
of the violations should be considered “a human
This is the warning in its latest report, ‘Hear Her
Cries’, which pays particular attention to the
kidnapping, forced conversion and rape of Christian
women and girls.
“At its most extreme, the forced conversion of
Christian women and girls can be called genocide,
jihadists targeting them with intent to ensure the
destruction of minority faith communities,” the report
But the full scale of the problem remains “largely
hidden” because of widespread under-reporting, with
victims and their families too afraid to speak up
because of social shame, threats from abductors,
and in some cases the silencing tactics of authorities
who side with the perpetrators and turn a blind eye.
The problem is especially prevalent in Nigeria, where
ACN estimates that Christians account for 95 per
cent of the women and girls being held by Islamist
Other countries highlighted in the report include
Pakistan and Egypt.
The report was published by ACN on Red
Wednesday, held each year to raise awareness of the
persecution of Christians.
The foreward to the report was written by Maira
Shahbaz, a Pakistani teenager who was kidnapped by
a Muslim man, forced to marry him and forced to
convert to Islam.
She was raped multiple times before managing to
escape but she and her family are now in hiding
because of death threats from the abductor and his
supporters. The family is appealing to the UK for
“My whole family – my mother, my sisters, my
brother and I – are in hiding, locked in a room.
Suspects have been spotted in different areas asking
about us,” Maira said.
She asked that Christians speak up for girls like her.
“I know there are so many other girls and young
women, not only Christian but from other faiths too,
who suffer abduction, rape, forced conversion and
marriage, not just in Pakistan but in many other
countries around the world. Who will help us? Who
will speak up for us? Who cares about our situation?”
“Thanks so much to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN)
and the many thousands of people who have done
their best to help us and protect us. I am grateful for
your prayers. I am also grateful for the release of this
“For too long, the world has remained silent. For too
long, we have suffered in silence – freedom and faith
have been crushed underfoot. Girls and young
women are being treated no better than criminals.
But at last we are able to speak up. The one who
suffers can now speak. Isn’t it time for the world to
‘hear her cries’?”
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